Assignment #1 (Draft #1) – Essay, Analyzing a Text, “Idiot Nation” by Michael Moore Brett Fisher, Humanities 202P, Dr. Ted Otteson, March 12, 2013
“Idiot Nation!” Could Michael Moore begin an article with a less positive mental projection…I think not! In this article Moore bemoans the state of education at all levels in the United States. He drones on and on about problems in our schools without ever proffering solutions to any of them. Yes, in this diatribe he does identify several unacceptable outcomes of our education system. It would be interesting to know what this man would assume to do if he could wave a magic wand. How would he correct the ills that have plagued our schools for decades as well as some new challenges students face. In this essay I will attempt to objectively analyze the words that Mr. Moore puts on the page. I make that statement because I believe he has a fantastic grasp of the English language and uses speech to shock and agitate. We will find out toward the end of this essay that he also prods current students to follow his path of verbal bomb throwing in order to affect change in schools today. Moore gives statistics that show about 200 million of the 300 million of U.S. citizens are not avid readers or readers at all. His assertion is that those who don’t read are “idiots”. That particular controversial statement is only one of the first made in this article. I find it controversial because a person need not read to be an intelligent person. There are millions of illiterate geniuses in this country. There are also millions more who CAN read but choose NOT to. This does not make them “idiots”! He contradicts this same point when he brings attention to the millions upon millions of sports fan(atics) that are able to recite even the most obscure minutia concerning their favorite sport. He is almost offended by the ability of these sports fans. Moore says that our students are not “challenged by interesting subject matter”. To this I say he is correct. He can tell the story of his own experience when he was advanced a grade in school but his parents refused to set him free in the higher level class. Of course from his perspective and the level of intelligence he showed in that school he would be bored and uninterested if he couldn’t move ahead. Isn’t that the same story of each and every child? If a child is gifted or challenged our schools AND PARENTS need to be in tune with their strengths and weaknesses. Teachers throughout history have had the responsibility of teaching at many comprehension levels at the same time. Did the teacher in the one room school house with grades K through 12 teach everybody the same material at the same time? Absolutely not! I cannot fault Moore for his personal experience of being bored throughout elementary and high schools. In fact I can relate personally to it. The difference is that I saw opportunity in that time by immersing myself in an activity that provided me challenge and at the same time grew a passion of mine…music. For every class that did not challenge me or left me with extra time on my hands I would head to the practice room or start up a jam session in the open band room. So yes, teachers and parents need to be aware of their students need and thirst for knowledge and be sure to provide challenges and opportunities for them to work hard and excel. We should not be advancing students through the education system based on physical size rather than their ability to thrive in school. It is possible to challenge students and teachers and parents need to be capable of performing this function. I am happy that Moore pointed out this fact. It gives us the opportunity to discuss measurable practices that challenge our children and keep them interested in the active role as learners. Perhaps if our parents and citizens demand change we will not end up as we currently find ourselves, with students from prestigious...
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